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August 2012 news and reviews

August 31
Sigma US announces DP1 Merrill at $1000, arriving in mid September

Sigma Corportation of North America has announced that the DP1 Merrill will be available from mid September at a price of around $1000. The DP1M is the version of the company's fixed lens, APS-C compact camera with a 28mm equivalent, F2.8. It uses the same Foveon X3 sensor as the company's flagship SD1 DSLR, which captures three colors at each of its 14.6 million pixel sites. The quoted price is the camera's 'street price' reflecting what Sigma thinks the camera will actually sell for, rather than a more speculative recommended selling price.

August 30
Wikipedia launches 'world's largest photo contest' to expand image collection

Wikipedia has launched what it calls 'the world's largest photo contest' to increase the number of images of 'historic sites' in its image database - Wikimedia Commons. The contest, called 'Wiki Loves Monuments 2012' will run throughout September 2012, with the best entry receiving a photo tour of Hong Kong, coinciding with the Wikimania 2013 conference. Wikipedia has run photographic competitions before, but this is the biggest yet, and will involve volunteers from more than 30 countries. Click through for more details.

Accessory Review: Pixel Vertax D12 Grip for Nikon D800/E

Just Posted: Our review of the Pixel Vertax D12 third-party battery grip for the Nikon D800. Third-party manufacturers offer a broad range of accessories for popular cameras, providing more options or lower prices. Vertical grips can aid the handling of DSLRs for portrait-format shooting and when working with long, heavy lenses. In this short review, we look at the Pixel Vertax D12 battery grip. At $99 it's considerably cheaper than Nikon's MB-D12 but can it do the same job? Click through for our opinion. 

Carl Zeiss announces CP.2 25mm T2.1 fast cinema prime

Carl Zeiss has announced the Compact Prime CP.2 25/T2.1 cinema lens. It's a replacement for the existing CP.2 25/T2.9, offering a whole stop greater light-gathering ability. The CP.2 25/T2.1 uses the company's interchangeable lens mount system, with Arri PL, Canon EF, Nikon F, Micro Four Thirds and Sony E options all available. It will start shipping on October 1st, 2012, with an expected retail price of €3,300 (excl. VAT) or $4,500 (excl. VAT).  

Carl Zeiss presents CZ.2 28-80mm T2.9 cinema zoom lens

Carl Zeiss is displaying a 28-80mm T2.9 cinema zoom lens at the IBC trade show in Amsterdam, that will complement the 70-200mm T2.9 optic it announced earlier this year. Designed for use on 35mm full-frame format video-capable SLRs, as well as HD video cameras and professional cine cameras, the Compact Zoom CZ.2 28-80/T2.9 will be available in Canon EF, Nikon F, Micro Four Thirds, Sony E and Arri PL mounts. It will be available in the second quarter of 2013 for €14,900 or US$19,900 (excluding VAT).

August 29
DxO Optics Pro 7.5.4 adds Sony RX100 and Pentax K-30 support

DxO Labs has updated its DxO Optics Pro software to version 7.5.4. The latest version adds Raw support for the Sony DSC-RX100 and the Pentax K-30. In addition, the company has added 400 lens-optimizing Optics Modules for a variety of cameras and lenses, taking the total to over 8000. The upgrade is free to existing Optics Pro 7 users and those who bought Pro 6 after September 1st 2011. A trial version is available from the DxO Labs website.

Samsung's Android-powered Galaxy Camera: the most connected camera?

Samsung today launched the first true compact camera/smart device hybrid - the Galaxy Camera. While it's not able to make phone calls, it is the first 3G/4G connected camera to reach a worldwide audience. We've been talking to Samsung representatives for months about the concept of a camera running the Android OS, and now that the wraps are off, the final specification is more or less in line with what we expected - a versatile, consumer-level camera running 'full strength' Android and both 3G/4G connectivity, in addition to Wi-Fi. Click through for more information and for our take on what all this means. 

Samsung announces Galaxy Camera hybrid camera with Android 4.1 OS

Samsung has announced the Galaxy Camera, a 16MP BSI CMOS compact superzoom/Android smart device hybrid. It combines a 21x, 23-481mmm equivalent zoom camera on the front with a 4.8" touchscreen on the back. It runs Android 4.1 (known as Jelly Bean), the latest version of the operating system. Under the surface, the Galaxy Camera shares most of its key specifications with the company's Galaxy SIII smartphone - with a 1.4GHz quad-core processor at its heart, missing only the ability to make calls. It will be available in two versions - one with 3G connectivity and the other with 4G. As you'd expect, both versions support Wi-Fi.

Just Posted: Sony Alpha NEX-5R hands-on preview

Just Posted: Sony Alpha NEX-5R hands-on preview. We've been investigating Sony's latest mid-range NEX to try to get to the bottom of the features it adds to the NEX family. These include a revised 16MP APS-C CMOS sensor with phase-detection elements to power the camera's hybrid AF system, and the ability to download proprietary apps. The body may look the same as the previous 5-series cameras, but don't let that fool you - there are a lot of changes under that magnesium alloy skin. Read our preview to find out more.

Sony announces Alpha NEX-5R Wi-Fi capable mirrorless camera with hybrid AF

Sony has announced the Alpha NEX-5R, the latest in its series of mid-level mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The 16MP 5R adds on-sensor phase detection elements to enable hybrid autofocus, and gains a control dial and dedicated function button over its predecessor, the 5N. The 5R also gains Wi-Fi capabilities and the ability to run proprietary in-camera apps to extend its capabilities.

Sony announces 'PlayMemories' Camera Apps to extend NEX-5R capabilities

Sony has announced the first in a series of 'PlayMemories' Camera Apps. These apps will be available to Sony owners with an account on the company's 'PlayMemories' web service and can be installed on the newly-announced Alpha NEX-5R. The Apps allow various features and capabilities to be added to the camera, including image processing and remote triggering options. The move comes as Sony expands the 'PlayMemories' service to make sharing images across its devices easier.

Canon unveils EOS C500 4K cinema video camera and four lenses

Canon has officially announced the EOS C500, the professional 4K video camera output that it promised at the NAB trade show in April. A continuation of the concept of the C300, it can capture Raw 4K video footage and offers frame rates of up to 120fps in compressed 4K. It also captures 2K footage (2,048 x 1,080 pixels) at 12-bit, with 4:4:4 Y'CbCr chroma sub-sampling for high colour resolution. The company has also confirmed four cinema EOS lenses alongside it - the EF mount CN-E15.5-47mm T2.8 L S and CN-E30-105mm T2.8 L S, and the same optics in PL mount (known as the CNE15.5-47mm T2.8 L SP and CN-E30-105mm T2.8 L SP respectively). The C500's price will be in the region of $30,000.

Canon announces EOS C100 professional video camera

Canon has announced a the EOS C100, a 'budget' addition to its Cinema EOS range of professional video cameras. Designed for independent videographers, the C100 offers the same core technology as the C300, including its 8.3MP Super 35mm image sensor, in a smaller package. Its EF lens mount means it's compatible with all of Canon's SLR lenses, as well as the company's specialist Cinema EOS optics. The C100 records 1920 x 1080 Full HD movies to SD cards at a bitrate of 24Mbps, offers an ISO range of 320-20000, and can output uncompressed video directly to external recorders. It will be available from November 2012 at a price of $7,999.

August 28
Just Posted: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 review

Just Posted: Our review of the Sony RX100 large-sensor compact camera. The RX100 may look a lot like its 1/1.7" sensor peers but it boasts a sensor 2.7 times larger, which should directly translate into better image quality. It also packs class-leading video features into its tiny metal body. It's already being heralded in some quarters as the best compact ever so, after extensive use in a variety of conditions, can it possibly live up to the hype? Read our review to find out.

Adobe posts Lightroom v4.2 and ACR 7.2 release candidates

Adobe has announced 'release candidate' versions of Lightroom 4.2 and Adobe Camera Raw 7.2. The latest near-complete versions add support for a series of hotly-anticipated cameras, including the Sony DSC-RX100 and Canon EOS 650D / Rebel T4i. The Lightroom update also corrects a series of bugs present in the current version of the software. As usual, release candidates are considered well tested but not final. Camera Raw 7.2 also adds the option to change the 'as-shot' image crop, if the camera has recorded the whole sensor's data.

Just Posted: Pentax K-30 studio test shots as part of rolling review

Just Posted: Studio test samples and analysis of the Pentax K-30. We're working on a full review of Pentax's K-30 mid-level DSLR and will be posting content as it's completed, building up the review progressively over the coming weeks. The first part of this process is the addition of our standard studio test images to the K-30 preview. As usual this means the images are accessible from other reviews and the standalone comparison tool, and Raw files are available for download.

August 27
Rick Sammon: Realistic HDR images

Few things generate more passionate opinions among photographers than the stylized HDR images that have become so popular on the web. Pro photographer and author Rick Sammon argues that there is more to HDR, however, than the surreal over-the-top examples you see on photo sharing sites. In this article he shows that you can capture a wide dynamic range and still maintain a more natural and realistic image.

Chase Jarvis writes about Neil Armstrong's 'Inspirational' moon photos

When Neil Armstrong passed away this weekend we lost someone who was not only a a hero to millions, but also one of the most important photographers in history. Armstrong's photographs from the moon, taken during the Apollo 11 landing in 1969, are among the most iconic and inspirational ever captured. In response to the death of Armstrong, photographer Chase Jarvis has written an article in which he examines the photos taken on the moon, all those years ago. Click through for a link to the full article.

August 24
Kodak to exit consumer photography, while tech giants gang-up to buy patents

Kodak has announced it will sell two of its business divisions, ending its role as a consumer-facing photographic company. The Personalized Imaging business includes print kiosks and consumer film, while the Document Imaging business includes scanners and commercial document management. Both businesses will be sold as going concerns. Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal has reported that many of the world's biggest technology companies, including Samsung, Apple and Google, have formed a consortium to bid for Kodak's digital imaging patents, significantly lowering the price the amount the sale is likely to raise.

August 23
Adobe updates Revel cloud-based image service to v1.5

Adobe has announced an update to Revel, its cloud-based storage, editing and browsing service. Available as an app for Mac users and iOS device owners, version 1.5 offers the ability to organize your pictures into photo abums and share these privately with friends and family online in galleries hosted by Adobe. Images can now be captioned and the updated UI includes a 'Library' grid view for easier image browsing. Subscription pricing for the service remains at US $5.99 per month. Revel software is available in Apple's Mac and App Stores.

Martin Evening: Using Lightroom's Import dialog for better image management

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom offers workflow benefits that can make it easier to organize your photo collection. Pro photographer and Lightroom expert Martin Evening gives an overview of 'best practices' for managing the import process itself. Click here to find out how to make the best use of metadata, file renaming and custom templates during the image upload process, in his four-page article. 

August 22
Olympus launches Stylus VH-515 12MP CMOS 8x and VH-410 16MP CCD 5x

Olympus has announced the Stylus VH-515 and VH-410 compact cameras. The VH-515 is a 12MP BSI-CMOS powered compact with an 8x, 25-200mm equivalent zoom. The less expensive VH-410 is a 16MP camera that uses a CCD chip behind its 5x, 26-130mm equivalent lens. Both cameras feature 460k dot 3" LCDs, with the VH-410's one being touch-sensitive. The VH-515 can capture 1080p30 video with H.264 compression, while the VH-410 shoots 720p Motion JPEGs.

Pentax announces X-5 DSLR-like 26x zoom 16MP CMOS superzoom

Pentax has announced the X-5, a 26x superzoom built around a 16MP backlit CMOS sensor. The X-5 is designed to closely resemble the company's K-5 DSLR, despite being based around a 1/2.3"-type sensor. The lens offers a 22.3-580mm equivalent range, backed up with sensor-shift image stabilization. It can capture 1080p30 movies and features a selection of the multi-shot and image processing modes that have become common on CMOS-based cameras. It features a tilting 460k dot rear LCD and 230k dot electronic viewfinder. It is powered by AA batteries, giving around 500 shots per charge when used with NiMh rechargeable cells.

Olympus releases SP-820UZ and SP-720UZ 14MP superzooms

Olympus has released the SP-820UZ and SP720UZ - the latest in its long-running Ultrazoom series of superzoom cameras. Both are 14MP CMOS-based cameras featuring 1080p movie capture and 460k dot 3" LCDs. The SP-820UZ features a 40x, 22.4-896mm equivalent lens and takes AA batteries. The SP-720UZ is built around a shorter, 26x, 26-676mm equivalent zoom lens. Both models feature sensor-shift image stabilization, can control Eye-Fi wireless SD cards and can automatically shoot pictures when a pet looks directly at them. Olympus US has only announced the SP-820UZ.

Nikon announces Android-powered Coolpix S800c smart Wi-Fi superzoom

Nikon has announced the Coolpix S800c - the first compact camera from a major manufacturer to openly use the Android mobile operating system. On one side it's a 16MP BSI-CMOS compact camera with a 10x, 25-250mm lens built in, on the other it's a 3.5" OLED touchscreen device running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). We've had an opportunity to use a pre-production camera and have prepared an overview of the first real compact camera/smartphone hybrid.

Nikon Coolpix P7700 preview - 12MP CMOS-based enthusiast compact

Nikon has revealed the Coolpix 7700 a CMOS-based enthusiast compact camera with class-leading zoom lens. Its 28-200mm lens has a maximum aperture range of F2.0-4.0, making it a whole stop brighter than its predecessor, the P7100's. The P7700 is built around a 1/1.7"-type 12MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor, enabling 1080p30 video and 8fps shooting. The bigger lens means there's no room for an optical viewfinder but the P7700 gains a flip-out swivel LCD instead. We've had a chance to handle the P7700 and have prepared a preview looking at the changes.

Nikon launches minuscule Coolpix S01 3x ultra-compact with 10MP CCD sensor

Nikon has launched the Coolpix S01, a miniature compact camera built around tiny 10MP sensor. The S01 uses a 1/3"-type CCD sensor - a size more commonly found in smartphones to allow it to offer a 29-87mm equivalent zoom in a device just 77 x 51 x 17mm in size (3.1 x 2.1 x 0.7"). It features a 2.5", 230k dot touchscreen and uses a built-in battery (rated at around 190 shots) and 7.3 GB of internal memory. It will cost around $179.99.

A first look at the Nikon Coolpix S800c - the first camera from a major manufacturer to be built around Google's Android mobile operating system.
August 21
Article: Rules of composition

There are fundamental rules of composition that visual artists of all disciplines make use of to create more dynamic images. Fashion and fine art photographer Thomas Park demonstrates three of these techniques and explains how you can employ them when creating your own photographs.

Canon announces PowerShot SX500 IS and SX160 IS 16MP superzooms

Canon has annnounced the PowerShot SX160 IS and SX500 IS - two mid-range superzoom cameras. The SX160 IS has a 16x zoom covering a 28-448mm equivalent range. This is backed with a 16MP CCD sensor and Digic 4 processor. The SX500 IS features the same sensor and processor but adds a 30X, 24-720mm equivalent lens. Both feature faster autofocus and less shutter lag than previous models, while the SX160 IS includes Canon's Intelligent IS system designed to compensate for a greater variety of camera movements. Both models will be available from September at recommended prices of $329 for the SX500 IS and $229 for the SX160 IS.

August 20
High End P&S versus Micro Four Thirds
A comparison between the Olympus XZ-1 and E-PM1 to help users who are still undecided which route to go.
Sony uses clear pixels to offer low-light performance and 'HDR movies'

Sony has announced smartphone image sensors that use clear pixels to improve low light performance and allow 'HDR videos' with greater dynamic range. The chips, which will be branded 'Exmor RS' also use the company's latest 'stacked CMOS' design to maximize the light capturing area of each pixel. Adding a white (clear) pixel to the conventional red, green and blue (RGB) filters has been proposed before but Sony says its processing allows it to 'heighten sensitivity without compromising its high resolution.' The first chips to use the design will be small, smartphone-targeted 1/3"-type 13MP and 1/4"-type 8MP designs.

Just Posted: Canon EOS 650D / EOS Rebel T4i review

Just Posted: Our review of the Canon EOS 650D / EOS Rebel T4i. The 650D is the latest in Canon's popular series of mass-market DSLRs and, at first glance, the 18MP camera doesn't look radically different to its predecessor, the 600D/Rebel T3i. However, Canon has added a touchscreen interface and a hybrid autofocus system aimed at improving focus performance in live view and movie shooting. What do these capabilities add to the otherwise familiar camera? Read our review to find out.

August 17
Hipstamatic moving 'full force ahead' despite major layoffs

Hipstamatic denies that the layoffs of five employees signifies the death knell for the longtime mobile photography favorite. Yesterday the Hipstamatic team was reduced from a team of 11 to a mere six employees through a restructuring effort and questions quickly arose about the future of the app known for its toy camera capabilities. 'We're still moving full force ahead -- the original team that built Hipstamatic is still here, and remains deeply committed to continuing to make great products that inspire our community and the world,' said Molli Sullivan, Hipstamatic's director of communications.

Mobile Arts Festival touted as world’s largest

A gallery of images shot with the three-lens Olloclip iPhone accessory gives a taste of what's to come what organisers are saying is the world's largest 'mobile arts' festival. The L.A. Mobile Arts Festival begins this Saturday at the Santa Monica Art Studios in Los Angeles, California. The nine-day event will encompass not just camera phone photography, but also video, sculptural and performance art related to mobile devices. The event will showcase upwards of 600 individual works created by more than 240 artists from over 30 countries around the world, with further work showcased online during the event.

Olympus working on new body for 'Pro' Four Thirds lenses

Olympus has issued a press release, confirming that it is working on a camera body for use with its range of 'Top Pro' lenses. According to the press release Akira Watanabe, manager of Olympus's Imaging SLR Planning Department acknowledges that while Olympus has 'pushed the boundaries of performance' with the Micro Four Thirds E-M5, 'it did not deliver with the legacy high end lenses from the E-system'. Although the statement is vague and very brief, it is the most formal confirmation yet of the company's plans to continue to support its Four Thirds lenses. Click through to read the press release in full.

August 16
Instagram 3.0 update adds mapping feature

The latest version of Instagram is now available for both Apple and Android devices. Version 3.0 adds several optimization features that should make the popular photo sharing app easier and faster to use and allow users to report abusive comments and spam, but its new photo mapping display will be what fans notice first. In fact, the first time users open the app after updating, they’ll be guided through the new Photo Map feature and asked which previously geotagged images they’d like to add to their map. Users can then track their own and other users’ Photo Maps via their profile. 

Just Posted - Sony NEX-F3 review

Just posted: Sony NEX-F3 review. In the latest of our collaborations with Jeff Keller of the Digital Camera Resource Page, we look at the Sony NEX-F3 - the company's latest entry-level mirrorless camera. The F3 continues the lineage of the original NEX-3, including many of features of Sony's more expensive models in a less expensive body. In the case of the F3 this means the latest 16MP APS-C sensor capable of up to 6 frames per second, plus Auto Portrait Framing mode, a built-in flash and an LCD that flips all the way up to aid self-portraiture. Do these latest additions offer a significant improvement for the baby NEX? Click through to read the review.

Photographer adds camera control with home-made computer accessory grip

Irish photographer David Hunt has found a great way of extending the capabilities of his camera - by attaching a single-board computer to it. Hunt has installed a Raspberry Pi, Linux-based credit-card-sized computer in an old battery grip. He's not got as far as programming the computer yet but has blogged about the possibilities (hard drive backup, control across the Internet or sophisticated interval shooting, for example). Powered by a standard Canon battery, the idea helps open-up the options for camera hacking, without having to get past the firmware encryption (as a resourceful user has done for the Sony SLT A55 recently). (via Petapixel)

August 15
Video tests of the Canon EOS 650D / Rebel T4i's Hybrid autofocus system

What improvements has Canon's Hybrid AF system brought to the EOS 650D's usability in live view, and what might this mean for the forthcoming EOS-M mirrorless camera? As a precursor to our imminent 650D/Rebel T4i review, we've published two videos showing how Hybrid AF works, compared both to conventional phase-detection AF and to a contemporary mirrorless rival (in this case the Panasonic DMC-G5). It's a chance see how the 650D performs but also gives an idea of what we can expect from the EOS-M, which uses the same technologies.

Getty Images bought by management and Carlyle Group for $3.3bn

Photo library and licensing giant Getty Images is to be bought by its founders and investment company The Carlyle Group for $3.3bn. They will buy-out existing private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, which purchased Getty for $2.4bn four years ago. Carlyle, one of the world's largest private equity companies, will gain a controlling share of the company, while co-founders Mark Getty and Jonathan Klein, along with the Getty family, will also increase their stakes in the business.

August 14
Canon extends allergy recall on EOS Rebel T4i / 650D

Canon has announced a wider recall for its EOS Rebel T4i/650D, in response to the discovery that a faulty batch of grips can turn white and produce an allergenic substance. The company has updated its web tool for identifying whether your camera might be affected and asks customers to check their camera's serial number if the sixth digit is a '1.' This applies even if you checked when the problem was first announced, back in July. It your camera is indicated to be affected, you should contact customer support in your territory.

Just Posted: Our review of the Samsung NX210 Wi-Fi capable smart camera

Just Posted: Our Samsung NX210 review. The NX210 is one of the first of Samsung's range of 'smart' Wi-Fi connected models. While plenty of manufacturers are experimenting with cameras that can connect to smartphones, Samsung is the first to offer this capability built-into an interchangeable lens camera. Spec-wise, the NX210 builds on the 20MP NX200, so our review mainly looks at the differences between the two cameras. Does the NX210 succeed in bringing smartphone convenience to large-sensor photography? Read our review to find out.

Eric Kim on the pioneering color photographer Stephen Shore

Popular LA-based street photographer Eric Kim has posted an interesting article on his site, entitled '5 things Stephen Shore can teach you about street photography'. According to Kim, Shore - an American photographer best known for his 1970s color studies of American landscapes - has a lot to teach today's street photographers. Lessons include 'shoot color for visual accuracy and realism' and 'go against the grain' as well as more prosiac advice such as 'date your images'. Click through to read Kim's article in its entirity.

August 13
Article: 'Editing on the Road' by travel photographer Steve Davey

Travel photography isn't just about visiting beautiful places and taking pictures, it's a learning opportunity, too. If you travel without a laptop and don't edit your pictures until you get back from a trip, you might be missing a great opportunity to improve your work. In this short article, award-winning travel photographer Steve Davey explains why you should embrace editing on the road.

August 10
Usain Bolt captures the moment of his double-double Olympic triumph

Moments after becoming the first man to win back-to-back Olympic 100m and 200m sprints, Jamaican runner Usain Bolt decided he wanted to capture the moment from his own perspective. The ever-ebullient sprinter grabbed a camera from Swedish photographer Jimmy Wixtröm and started snapping away - showing, in wide-angle, what it's like to be center of the press' attention. The BBC has put together a gallery, both of Bolt's images and those of the press corps' shots of one of athletics' great showmen.

Look to the skies - Perseid meteor showers reach their peak this weekend

Looking for something to photograph this weekend? How about the Perseid meteor showers (which should be visible over the next few evenings and nights)? Perseid meteors are debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, and are particularly visible around August 12th, so it's worth thinking about the shot you want to capture them in. Click here for a couple of links to help you plan the timings and your camera setup, to get the best shots.

August 9
Article: Evolution of an image
Great photos don't just happen - behind the scenes lies a lot of detailed preparation. Professional photographer Carsten Krieger demonstrates his working procedure when creating a landscape image in the wilds of north-western Ireland. In this article, Krieger discusses the importance of visualizing the end result before you take the picture as well as the crucial role that planning, preparation and patience play in allowing 'good luck' to happen. Click through to read about his creative process.
Samyang creates cinema versions of 14mm, 24mm and 35mm lenses

Korean lens maker Samyang has created cinema versions of its well-regarded 14mm F2.8, 24mm F1.4 and 35mm F1.4 manual focus lenses. They're distinguished by racks on their focus and aperture rings for use with cinema rigs, stepless aperture control, calibration in T-stops rather than F-stops, and scales that are marked to be read from the side of the camera. The three lenses are known as the Samyang T1.5 35mm AS UMC, Samyang T1.5 24mm ED AS IF UMC and Samyang T3.1 14mm ED AS IF UMC, and will be made in Canon and Nikon mounts. They'll go on sale towards the end of August at prices to be announced.

Nikon 1 J2 mirrorless camera refreshes 1 System's consumer model

Nikon has released the J2, a slightly updated addition to its 1 System of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The J2 is gently-reworked version of the more basic J1 model, gaining a higher-resolution rear screen. It also inherits a handful of feature modes from Nikon's Coolpix compacts on an additional position on its mode dial, and is now available in orange. Probably the biggest change is the price tag - its suggested selling price of $549 is $100 below the original launch price of the J1. In Europe the J2 will cost around €539 with the 10-30mm VR lens and €519 with the 11-27.5mm zoom.

Nikon adds Nikkor 1 11-27.5mm F3.5-5.6 lens and underwater housing to 1 System

Alongside the 1 J2, Nikon has announced a waterproof housing and a more compact retractable zoom lens - the 1 Nikkor 11-27.5mm F3.5-5.6. The lens is something of an enigma - it's smaller than the existing 10-30mm kit zoom but, in the US at least, isn't being offered as a kit option. As a result, if you want a less rangy lens, without image stabilization, it'll set you back $189. Nikon US suggests it might appeal to people who bought a kit with just the 10mm prime lens. The WP-N1 underwater housing offers full access to the 1 J1 or 1 J2's buttons and dials, while providing protection to depths of 40m/130ft. It will be available in early September for around $749.

Nikon launches Coolpix L610 14x, AA-powered compact superzoom camera

Nikon has announced the Coolpix L610 - a 14x compact superzoom camera that takes AA batteries. The L610 includes a healthy feature set - 16MP back-lit CMOS sensor, 25-350mm equivalent, image-stabilized zoom lens and 1080p30 HD video capability. However, reflecting its position at the top of Nikon's more affordable 'L' series of compacts, it uses the widely available, though relatively inefficient AA battery type. It will sell at around its suggested selling price of $250.

August 8
Canon acknowledges autofocus glitch with EF 40mm F2.8 STM pancake lens

Canon has acknowledged that a glitch in the recently released EF 40mm F2.8 STM pancake prime can cause autofocus to stop working. At present, if pressure is applied to the front of the lens when it's attached to the camera (which can include re-attaching the lens cap), the autofocus may stop working. The glitch can be overcome by dismounting and re-attaching the lens or by removing the camera's battery briefly. In its product advisory notice, the company says a firmware fix will be released in late August.

Mars rover camera project manager explains 2MP camera choice

A number of factors led to the use of 2MP sensors in the main imaging cameras used on NASA's Mars rover, Curiosity, says the project manager responsible for their development. The slow data rates available for broadcasting images back to Earth and the team's familiarity with that family of sensors played a part, says Malin Space Science Systems' Mike Ravine, but the biggest factor was the specifications being fixed as far back as 2004. Multi-shot panoramas will see the cameras deliver high-res images, he explains, but not the 3D movies Hollywood director James Cameron had wanted.

Nikon addresses 1 V1 and 1 J1 flaws with firmware v1.2

Nikon has released firmware updates for its 1 System cameras, addressing some of the drawbacks highlighted in our review. The v1.2 firmware updates for the Nikon 1 V1 and 1 J1 correct a series of minor operational issues but also change the program line in most shooting modes so that faster shutter speeds will be chosen. It was these cameras' tendency to use extremely slow shutter speeds that made us conclude they could be disappointing for beginners, despite the very promising underlying engineering. The firmware is available immediately for download.

August 7
NASA's Curiosity rover sends back first color images from Mars

NASA's Curiosity rover vehicle, that landed on Mars on August 6th, has sent back its first color images of the planet's dusty yellow/orange landscape. The image was taken with the camera on the rover's still retracted robotic arm, from behind the dust shield designed to protect the camera. The dust shield will be removed, promising better images, once the dust kicked-up by its landing has settled. This camera, known as MAHLI (Mars Hand Lens Imager), is primarily intended for examining close-up items. Still better images should come once the two Mastcams start sending back images.

Can photos tell the full story? Watch 'Honor The Treaties': A documentary film about Aaron Huey

Released worldwide today, Honor The Treaties is a short documentary by Director Eric Becker about American photographer Aaron Huey's work documenting the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The film deals with Huey’s personal growth as a photographer, storyteller, and advocate. It was recently selected as a featured short documentary at The Seattle International Film Festival, and is now available publicly for first time on Vimeo. Click through for more information, and to view the film.  

Canon releases promised Firmware v2.0.0 for EOS 7D

Canon has released firmware version 2.0.0 for the EOS 7D. The update, originally announced in June, is the most comprehensive we can think of - significantly expanding the capabilities of the 7D. Changes include improved continuous-shooting buffer depth (to 25 Raws, up from the original 15), customizable Auto ISO, control of audio recording level for video and the ability to re-process Raws and rate images in-camera. The update also enables the use of the GP-E2 GPS module.

Pilgramers journey to explore community connection behind Instagram

What’s so great about Instagram anyway? The answer to that question is part of what a group of Instagram users, calling themselves the Pilgramers, set out to find over the course of five weeks this summer. The series features the group meeting up with Instagram users in various cities across the United States through a series of 'Instameets,' real life gatherings the Pilgramers advertised through the app to bring users together to discuss the Instagram phenomenon.

August 6
Reuters showcases EOS-1D X multiple exposure modes

The multi-exposure functions of the latest Canon cameras have been showcased in a series of images shot at the London Olympics. Reuters photographer Mike Blake has written about the possibilities of being able to capture and combine sequences of images conveying the action and movement of disciplines such as gymnastics. Specifically, this has been made possible by the EOS-1D X's ability to produce composite images that combine multiple shots in different ways. All the original shots can also be saved, so taking these images didn't come at the expense of capturing the traditional 'front page' shot. (via MyModernMet)

August 4
Nikon 800mm F5.6 at the Olympics - Leon Neal's First Impressions

British press photographer and dpreview contibutor Leon Neal is at the London Olympics, and has published a short blog post about his experiences using the forthcoming AF-S Nikkor 800mm F5.6. No details of price or availability for the monstrous optic have yet been released, but Neal had the chance to use the as-yet-unavailable lens for two sessions at the Aquatics Center this week. Click through for Neal's first impressions, and sample images including 100% crops. 

Book Review: 'Envisioning Family' by Tamara Lackey

A mixture of personal anecdote and practical advice, 'Envisioning Family: A Photographer's Guide to Making Meaningful Portraits of the Modern Family' by Tamara Lackey should be of interest to anyone who wants to add a little something extra to their family portraits. Adam Kaplan takes a look.

August 3
Japan Hobby Tool makes urban camouflage cover for Nikon 1 system

Japan Hobby Tool has announced a set of 'urban camouflage' covers for the Nikon 1 system cameras. In stark contrast to the nostalgia-tinged Gariz leather cases we've seen for various cameras, the Japan Hobby Tool coverings are distinctly modern, featuring a stylized pixelated monochrome design. The adhesive covers, created for the Nikon 1 J1, V1 and Coolpix P310, are available for around ¥1890 (roughly $25), plus shipping. (from DC Watch)

Casio Europe releases Exilim EX-ZR300 high-speed compact camera

Casio Europe has launched the Exilim EX-ZR300, released in Japan in May 2012. It features a 12.5x, 24-300mm zoom lens and dual processors to help it offer focus times as short as 0.12s. It is also designed to offer control over both Flash Air and Eye-Fi wireless SD cards, for simple connection to smartphones. In common with other recent Casio flagship models, it also offers a series of high-speed features and is rated at an impressive 500 shots per charge, using CIPA testing methodology. It will be available for August at a cost of around €279.

August 1
Dan Chung live blogs from the Olympics with iPhone and Snapseed

Following on from the discussions about Dean Mouhtaropoulos' decision to use a Panasonic to capture the Olympics, here's further support for the 'it's the photographer, not the gear' argument. Photojournalist, videographer and dpreview contributor Dan Chung has been capturing the Olympic experience with his iPhone. In conjunction with some binoculars, a clip-on Schneider lens and the Snapseed processing app, he's been live-blogging from the games. The images are understandably small but present a fascinating, near-live insight into what's happening in London. (From The Guardian)

Nokia's Damian Dinning responds to 808 PureView review

Following our review of the Nokia 808 PureView, Damian Dinning - Lead program manager of Imaging Experience at Nokia - wrote to us responding to some of the issues that we raised and explaining why those decisions were made in the phone's development. In addition to featuring the largest, highest-pixel-count sensor of any smartphone, the 808 also offers the most advanced camera features - including manually selectable ISO sensitivity from 50-1600, exposure bracketing and five white balance presets. Click through to read Dinning's thoughts on our review conclusions. 

Roger Cicala investigates Canon's AF marketing claims

Lensrentals' Roger Cicala has published the third part of his investigation into Canon's autofocus systems, looking at what's changed behind the marketing claims. It's not unusual for manufacturers to promise that their products are 'new and improved,' but explanations about what's been changed or how much of an improvement it offers are harder to come by. Cicala has delved into Canon's patents (and taken some lenses apart), to see exactly why the EOS 5D Mark III's focus so consistently out-performs its predecessors'.

8K video and gigapan images show the Olympics in high resolution

The Olympics are always the great proving ground for the latest camera technology, but it's not just Canon's EOS-1D X and Nikon's D4 that are bringing the experience of the games to the wider world. US broadcaster NBC is publishing a series of stitched 'gigapan' images from the different venues - including a 3 gigapixel composite of the opening ceremony. Meanwhile, Japanese broadcaster NHK has been collaborating with the UK's BBC to broadcast the first live, remote 8K footage. There are few screens that can yet show such footage, but tech-site Engadget has written about what it's like to watch and whether 8K really is 'the end of the resolution story.'

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